Is it dangerous to do lean when others aren’t

If you happen to work for a company that does not follow lean principles, is it dangerous to apply lean processes yourself?

For the sake of the discussion, let’s assume you run a division with ten people. You have a fixed budget and a mission to fulfill. Together with your staff, you device better ways of interacting with your customers and you are now able to do the same amount of work with eight people.

In a company following lean principles, you would be allowed to redirect those two people to different work, to other challenges. In those conditions, improvements and innovations would be used by the people for the people. For the benefit of all.

In a company run by spreadsheets, what would happen? Your budget would get cut by the equivalent of two people. You might end up having to fire those people.

See where I am going?

Nowhere.

And that is a common direction for many companies.

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